Sunday, May 29, 2011

Before She's Gone


by Leann

As some of you may know, one of my cats became very ill, very quickly. Not my on again off again diabetic cat, Agatha Christie. She is very healthy for the first time in a year and a half. Off insulin, but will probably be back on--that seems to be her pattern. But she's a whopping 7 pounds now and is even playing again.

Not so for my oldest cat, Indigo. She's a non-papered Himalayan, my boss cat, my beauty and almost 17 years old. She came into my life at six weeks of age when my second child went to college and I was feeling just how lonely that empty nest can be. How she saved me from feeling sorry for myself. I still missed my kids so much, but the laughter, the joy and the chance to take care of a kitten saved me from serious depression. That's what pets do--save us from ourselves.

She joined me in all my craft activities and loved making quilts the best. The Cats in Trouble mysteries would never have been written if not for her inspiration. When I was writing, she lay by the keyboard and purred, content to be near me. I loved when she stuck her head through the opening in the sewing machine the best--her cute little brown smudged face begging me to play. So we did. Often.

She came with attitude, though. When she was spayed, she became very angry when I brought her home, refused to eat or drink and made me believe she was seriously ill. On the weekend of course. Off to the emergency vet clinic we went and you all know how much that costs. After a thorough check, the vet told me there was really not much wrong with her. She was a little dehydrated and they took care of that. His official diagnosis? Pissed Off Cat Syndrome. Yup. That's what he told me. My instructions were to hold her, feed her with a bottle or syringe and the extra attention would bring her around. What a wise man. He was right.

I added two cats, both rescues, after her, but she always remained top cat. When the dog came along four years ago, she put her in her place, too. My labradoodle is scared to death of Indigo to this day.

But she hated whenever I went away and would always resort to her old sickness-Pissed Off Cat Syndrome. No eating, no drinking, just pouting (and tearing up every roll of toilet paper she could get her paws on.) Same thing happened when I took her to the vet. She wanted me to know vet visits were unacceptable. Thank goodness she was blessed with wonderful teeth. Not once has she needed her teeth cleaned.

Sadly, when I went away for a conference at the end of April, I returned to find her more thin than usual and very mopey. This was more than Pissed Off Cat Syndrome. Unfortunately my husband has been ill and needed surgery. This meant more time away from her. She has dropped weight dramatically and she and I both know she is dying. I could take her to the vet she hates, put her through a million tests, but in my heart, I know that will only prolong the inevitable. She wants to be here, with me. I wouldn't hesitate to take either of the other two cats, but not Indigo. This is how she wants it. So I give her sips of water, a little kitten milk, brush her, pet her and whisper that I understand. She will have it her way--as usual, as it should be.

But, God, I will miss her so.

29 comments:

Dana Fredsti said...

I recently lost my alpha cat and oldest baby Beezle... and my heart goes out to you. It never gets any easier even when we know it's going to happen... I'm just glad you have the chance to make her last days so filled with love.

Kristin A. said...

It is very evident that you and Indigo have a very special and very strong bond. You are both so blessed to have each other and you both seem to realize it. You are a very sweet mama to Indigo and clearly in tune to her needs. May the Lord strengthen and be with you both in the coming days and weeks. My heart is with you.

Lynda said...

Oh Leann - this just breaks my heart. She is such a beautiful baby. My cat was 20 when I had to put her down because she had a stroke and couldn't eat on her own. Her last night, I fed her Hagen Daas strawberry ice cream - her favorite. I was there when she was born and stayed with her until the end came 20 years later. She was my family & constant companion, and I was devasated when I lost her. So, I do understand what you're going through and I wish you didn't have to go through this. I'll say a prayer for both of you, and hope that Indigo has a peaceful passing when her time comes.

Linda McDonald said...

Hugs to both Indigo and to you Leann. Thank you for sharing Indigo's story with us. She is a beautiful cat, with obviously quite the personality! I'll be saying a prayer for both of you.

Book Dragon said...

*sniffle*

sending hugs and tissues your way!

Dru said...

It's always sad at this stage but I'm glad that the time she has left will be with you in your loving hands. {{Hugs}}

Aurian said...

"wipes away a tear" i am verry sorry for your impending loss Leann, I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet. I hope the others can fill the void a little in time.

Sarita said...

I am so very sorry for your impending loss. I have been in the same spot so I understand how your heart is breaking. We loved Mimi and Piglet so that when they left it was devestating.

You and Indigo are both in my prayers.

Sue said...

((((((HUGS)))))) Leann I am so sorry you are losing your furbaby. I know what it's like to lose an alpha pet. I lost my tiny toy poodle about 4 years ago. I had been her person since she was 6 weeks old and would fit in the palm of my hand. The night she passed I was out of town and my daughter was babysitting. I swear I heard her bark her goodbye to me. I was so sure it was her, I woke up and called her. In the morning when my daughter called I kenw even before she said anything. You see Jass was the kind that she wouldn't want to say goodbye, just go off and watch over me until we are together again. I now have 2 more furbabies but they will never replace Jass. Prayers go out to both of you that she goes peacefully and doesn't suffer.

Leann Sweeney said...

Thank you so much everyone. I know I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I also know that so many of you understand and support someone like me. Such a wonderful gift, this facebook communituty.

The Cat Bastet said...

My heart aches for you, Leann. I'm glad you and Indigo are spending this time together. Like, Sue, I pray that she goes peacefully when her time comes. The important thing is that she is home and she knows you are with her. I'm praying for you both!

Cathy Akers-Jordan

Anonymous said...

Your post just made me cry thinking of my own similar situation with my first furbaby Katy four years ago. Just love Indigo they way you have been doing and spend as much time with her as you can. It's always so tough to lose a family member but eventually you'll just remember those happy, and silly moments with your cat. You're in my thoughts.

Chaplain Jan said...

My prayers are with you, Leann. May Indigo's last days be pain-free and filled with love. Your other furbabies will sense this impending loss and may need some extra comfort also. As you and your household go through this painful time, know that others are holding you in prayer and blessing.

Rita said...

Hi Leann,

The story if Indigo is beautiful and heartwarming. Our pets give us a reason to get up on the morning. They broaden us and comfort us and yes sometimes cost us a lot of $$$ too! All worth it. You are giving back to Indigo what she gave you, comfort. enjoy your time and relish the memories. Thanks for shaing.....Rita

Katreader said...

I'm so sorry, but happy Indigo is able to do it her way. May she go in peace-when she's ready.

Barbara said...

So very sorry about Indigo. The bond we have with our pets is so close that it's terrible when their time is up.

signlady217 said...

I am so sorry. Our pets are something else, aren't they?

beth slater said...

Leann, I told you about Callie, my Calico, but my Himalayan was my first cat - Nikki. I got Nikki when she was 5 and she & I never got to bond as closely because of Callie, but she was my first, and she knew I loved her. We lost her at 16, 3 weeks before we left TX, & 4 months after Callie, to renal failure. They all leave paw prints on our hearts, some just dig in their claws a little further than others, I think.

Suzanne said...

Hugs to you and Indigo. I have a 17 year old male that has his good and bad days. I picked him out of an ex-coworkers cat's litter when he was just a few weeks old. Enjoy the time you have left with Indigo, a pretty kitty with a cool name.

Liz Mugavero said...

I just lost one of my rescues, Ferris, who had a ton of attitude himself. It stinks and the house just isn't the same. I will be thinking of you.

Leann Sweeney said...

We all know this pain. You're right, Liz. It stinks. :-(

Linda Leszczuk said...

My heart aches for you. Know that you are doing the right thing for her, even if it's the hard thing for you.

Anonymous said...

Leann,

I'm so sorry about your cat. I wish I could say something that could make you feel better right now, but I know all too well that when something like this happens, nothing will help, no matter how well the person means it. I lost my beloved dog, Heidi, over a year ago, so I know exactly how you feel. I know it's hard. Please just know my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

Sandy said...

Awww, Leann...
What a time you are having. Indigo is so blessed that you're willing to honor who she is and what she wants. She is beautiful. I know how hard it is, but I truly think that the love we share with our pets will go on forever, and I know we'll see them again. It's just so so hard in the interim. Warm thoughts to your whole pack..

Vickie said...

I am so sorry to hear about Indigo. I lost my poor Munchi on Feb. 19. She was 16. She went peacefully in my arms. I know how you are feeling and I am so sorry you have to be going through this.

Vicki said...

Leann, I am so sorry. I lost my Miss Kitty in February. She was a rescue who also suffered POKS if I left her or on trips to the vet. We did the vet visits trying to solve the weight loss etc before finding she was older than thought and she had something they could not fix. I still miss the hugs from my "Baby Love" as she liked to nuzzle my neck from my shoulder but I can smile at the memories now. You are doing the best thing and loving your baby as you always have. Holding you both up in prayer.

Anonymous said...

I had a cat that looked almost EXACTLY like your! If your cat was anything as special as mine was, then I know how horrible it is to lose her. We had to put my cat, Chowder, down after having her for 15 years. I adopted another baby cat but he doesn't have the same spunk as her and I still miss her terribly even after 2 years. The good news is you can go save another cat in need ;)

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks Lindy. The love and support from my blog friends has been amazing. Indigo passed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday afternoon. I will miss her so, but she lives on in my heart.

Heather said...

I'm so sorry about Indigo. I never read blogs in the summer because I don't have the time it seems so I am just seeing this. It is so hard to loose a cat that is like family. Blessings to you. :)